Day 9 in Beijing: Embassy Ahead!

The U.S. EmbassyI went to visit the US embassy today.  I wanted to see it and my brother and his wife had some forms they had to drop off so I accompanied them.  I had seen it on Wednesday night as I went to a meeting of other therapists but I had not gone inside.
The embassy is a massive compound with a huge fence around it and massive walls inside that.  All the guards seem to be Chinese and the same guards to patrol all the embassies in this district.  There are a few windows in the concrete walls so one can see the building inside but it is pretty daunting.  It does not exude a feeling of love and connection. Sadly, it seems much more foreboding and intimidating.  Maybe that is what the architects were going for when they designed it.
There was a line of about 200-300 people waiting to get in.  As Americans, we were able to bypass this line and go straight in.  To quote Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the King.”  I try not to take advantage of my privilege if possible but this is the way it is set up.  Americans get to go into the American embassy without waiting.  The building itself is fairly bland from the outside but quite stunning inside.  There is a lot of beautiful stone work and, even though it is stark inside, it is also airy and open.  Lots of light gets in and it is very cool.
We were able to get our paperwork done quickly and took time to look around a bit.  They are adding a huge addition on to the side of the embassy and it will be intriguing to see if they follow the same design or do something different.
In my opinion, the most beautiful embassies in this district at the Malaysian and the Indian embassies.  They face each other and are radically different and yet both are incredibly aesthetically pleasing.  The Israeli embassy is quite beautiful also.  Sadly, pictures are forbidden so the best way to see them is to google them.

This is “Ladies Street.” It is about 2 block walk from the U.S. Embassy. Yet, a world away.

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